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Posted at 11:58 AM ET, 03/10/2011

Will the Wisconsin recall effort work? (Poll)

By Rachel Weiner



Republican Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman speaks with protesters inside the state capitol. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Wisconsin Democrats' push to recall Republican state senators is only picking up steam now that the controversial bill to strip unions of most of their collective bargaining rights appears headed to passage.

"We now put our total focus on recalling the eligible Republican senators who voted for this heinous bill," said the Wisconsin Democratic Party in a statement.

Maybe. But Wisconsin law is designed to make recalls difficult and rare.

The rules require targeted lawmakers to have been in office for at least a year to be eligible for recall. Eight Republican senators fit that standard. To recall a state senator, Democrats need to gather signatures in each district equivalent to one-quarter of votes cast in the seat in the last gubernatorial election. In most districts, that's at least 15,000 signatures.

Once that happens, an election is set for six weeks later. (If there are multiple challengers from one party, the election is pushed back four weeks). Only two state lawmakers have been successfully recalled in Wisconsin history.

Signature gathering is a laborious and costly process that challenges even the best organizations. And, you can be assured that Republicans will try to disqualify as many of the petition signers as possible -- meaning that recall advocates will need well in excess of 15,000 just to be safe.

But, Democrats insist they are well on their way -- having already collected 15 percent of the signatures they needed over the weekend. Liberal groups say that have raised close to $2 million dollars in support.

While they won't reveal where they are in each district -- saying they want to keep Republicans guessing -- efforts from some national groups have focused on three state senators: Randy Hopper, Alberta Darling and Dan Kapanke.

Some Senate Democrats are even hoping that the recall drive could help them retake the majority. There are not many safe seats in Wisconsin, as Nate Silver pointed out earlier this week. Obama carried 14 of the 19 state senate districts currently held by Republicans.

So, can Wisconsin Democrats make history? Will the recall effort work? Vote in our poll below.


By Rachel Weiner  | March 10, 2011; 11:58 AM ET
Categories:  Daily Fix Poll  
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Next: Tim Kaine's waiting game (and what it means)

 
 
 
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